We are staying quiet and at home these days. Little mundane jobs that often get left undone in the fast paced life of work and family are being caught up on. A friend wondered if I was getting cabin fever. Not at all! What little shopping we did is done, gifts wrapped and tucked away until our various holiday parties. The children have made the house a holiday wonderland with a tree so loaded with fifty-seven years of decorations that you can’t even see that it’s artificial!
Picture by Courtney Davis
Although we did not get a great deal of snow, that which we got this week is now frozen and the temperature is 27 as I write. With no one going out to work this morning I was able to spend it quietly, reflecting on the coming long night and how cultures and people respond to the turning of the seasons.
Different cultures and traditions celebrate the turning of the seasons and year differently. The Persian-speaking people celebrate the New Year with the Vernal Equinox which makes perfect sense with its season of rebirth. The New Year for Ancient Celtic tribes and Jewish tribes is in the Fall with the various harvests which also makes perfect sense to me. It is a time of gathering in the fruits of Summer and preparing for the dark short days of Winter. The modern Western celebration of the New Year, coming as it does close to the Winter Solstice and the Yuletide celebrations, makes perfect sense to me, too.
The lengthening days are the perfect time to begin afresh with new patterns of living and quiet contemplation. Winter seems a time for drawing inward and exercising the mind and heart while Nature’s call is not so strong. All creatures respond to Winter with quiet and recharging.
We will celebrate the Solstice tomorrow since it is my husband’s day off. A bonfire on the patio (weather permitting) and a dinner that focuses on light will be our gift to each other as we hole up from Nature’s white gift. To be sure we will be celebrating Christmas with family and friends—depending on the weather. We like all holidays that involve merriment and food! But tomorrow night’s celebration will be cozy and quiet with the peace that comes from us being together and the sharing of the return of the sun.